Monday, July 24, 2017

The Power of Blogging

There are so many reasons not to write that blog post you've been meaning to... work, family, the occasional good night's sleep. But there are many reasons you should be writing that blog post; I'd like to give you another.

A few years ago I wrote a blog about Bob Rohner MD, who taught human Pathology at Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, NY. 
(4 Lessons from a Great Teacher.) 

Dr. Rohner was the best natural teacher I have ever had. I decided to write the post because Dr. Rohner had been a huge influence on my life, and I had never had the chance to express that to him or thank him in any way. 

I wasn't even sure he was still alive, to be honest, but that didn't make any difference to me; I wrote the post and hit Publish, feeling better about the whole thing, as if writing about him constituted some kind of partial payment to the debt I owed him. And that was that, or so I thought.

This is where the power of blogging comes in. Somehow, I have no idea how, the post got read by some person who referred it to another who referred it to another, and the next thing you know I am getting a string of e-mails from a bunch of other people, all previous students of Dr. Rohner, on whom he had had a similar influence. It was so gratifying to know that many others felt the same way, that I decided to forward the post to Dr. Bob. (And why not send the post directly to the man I wanted to thank?)

I sent the post. A few weeks later, the following e-mail showed up in my inbox:

Peter,my brother in the profession,
Thank you so much for you message, and forwarded blogs...
There are reassurances in what you wrote. ....First I can reassure you that you indeed have a talent for writing.(" Blessed is he who has an alternative profession"....old saying). Now if the federal government  fouls up the health care system of the country you can sit down and write best sellers.
Reassurance? Aye,Peter, when my Bertie (my wife of some 53 years ) died some years ago, I withdrew into the back of my cave in the Tully hills as a reclusive grumpy old man  who emerges only twice a day, mornings and afternoons, to throw rocks at the passing school buses.
I am soon to enter into my four score and seventh year with only vague memories of my days at the medical school. In fact, those days to me now are like a fleeting memory of a dream when one awakens . I need affirmation that they ever occurred. Your message  was such a affirmation and  reassurance.
Saint Paul in one of his letters mentions that no one man can be complete, but each of us has been given an individual talent. He writes of the gifts of prophesy ,healing, preaching, teaching, speaking in tongues,  and a couple  of others that I have forgotten. I found( to my surprise) that my teaching efforts were much more appreciated than I ever thought they deserved. Hell ,Pete, I thought I was just doing what I was assigned to do and it was nothing special. Like your just flowed out effortlessly one it got started.  Well, actually there was a lot of work put into the preparation of the teaching sessions  mainly because I wasn't all that damned sure of myself and so it will be with your writing.....lots of preparatory work will make the writing ,good to start with ,much better.
I keep remembering Housman's poem to a dead athlete.. especially the stanza  that goes....
"Now you will not swell the rout
of lads who lived their honors out;
runners whom Renoun outran
and the name died before the man."
Well, your message reassured me that there is a chance that my name may even yet out live me.......
NU....Peter....cherish your wife dearly, your time together is short....and thanks again for your cyber remembrance....
Love in God's name,    Bob Rohner

Dr. Rohner died last month, in his 92nd year. When I read the obituary in the Upstate Alumni Journal, I was so thankful I had taken the time to affirm and reassure a man that his life's labor had been appreciated so very much. I encourage you to do the same. I suspect there is someone in your life who 1) helped you in a tight spot, 2) gave you advice or guidance that moved your life in a better direction 3) went out of his or her way to improve your life in some way.

Take the time to acknowledge them; write a blog about the effect he or she has had on your life. I have written four such blogs, and I can assure you that each one was well worth the time I invested writing it. 

A blog I wrote about my pre-medical adviser--who had to give me some very tough advise--was especially gratifying for both of us, and many others as well. 
Look for the Silver Lining

The post I wrote about my father, the number one person in my life, both during his life and still after his death, brought him back to life for the several hours I wrote it, and every time I re-read it. Keep that in mind when you wonder why you are writing a post (or anything, that matter) it only needs to mean something to you, the rest is all a bonus.
A Father's Day Tribute to my Dad

There was also a post I wrote about my favorite professor from college, a man with whom I became good friends after I graduated.(And with whom I remain good friends, even after I wrote the post.)
A Tribute To Edward F Callahan, phD

Cheers, peter

Peter Hogenkamp is a practicing physician, public speaker and author living in Rutland, Vermont. Peter's writing credits include THE INTERN, a novel based loosely on Peter's medical internship, excerpts of which can be seen on Wattpad; ABSOLUTION, the first book of The Jesuit thriller series; and THE LAZARUS MANUSCRIPT, a stand-alone medical thriller; Peter can be found on his Author Website as well as his personal blog, PeterHogenkampWrites, where he writes about most anything. Peter is the founder and editor of The Book Stops Herethe literary blog for readers and writers written by authors, editors, agents, publishers and poets; the founder and moderator of groups on Facebook (The Library), Google+ (Fiction Writers Anonymous); and the chief of three tribes on Triberr, The Big ThrillFiction Writers and The Book Shelf. Peter tweets--against the wishes of his wife and fouchildren--at @phogenkampvt and @theprosecons. Peter can be reached at or through his literary agent (Liz Kracht of Kimberely Cameron & Associates) at


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